Saturday, May 29, 2010

Seeing red in 'green' panels

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Seeing red in 'green' panels --------------------

Newport Beach home's installation of 170 hillside solar panels has some nearby neighbors upset at their glare, appearance.

By Sarah Peters

May 29 2010

To Stephen and Mashid Rizzone, nothing is more beautiful than preserving the planet for future generations. The complete article can be viewed at:,0,526543.story Visit Daily Pilot at

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Seeing red in 'green' panels

Newport Beach home's installation of 170 hillside solar panels has some nearby neighbors upset at their glare, appearance. A gigantic concentration of solar panels behind a house has become an eyesore for Bayside Drive residents in Newport Beach. (Ani Yessayan) By Sarah Peters May 29, 2010 E-mail Print Share Text Size To Stephen and Mashid Rizzone, nothing is more beautiful than preserving the planet for future generations. In about a month, the Rizzones will move into their new "green" home on the bluffs of Corona del Mar. The residence on Dolphin Terrace will be powered almost entirely by solar panels built on the hillside sloping behind it. Occupying about 3,000 square feet on their property, the panels are expected to cover between 80% and 90% of the their monthly utility bills, Stephen Rizzone said. "This is something that has evolved for us over the last five years as an outgrowth of having two kids," Rizzone said. "My wife and I asked ourselves what kind of legacy we were leaving and what kind of lessons we wanted to impart to our kids." Besides being energy-efficient, the home also meets stringent construction standards for environmental friendliness, and is undergoing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, Rizzone said. But the mammoth size of the Rizzones' "green" solar field, made up of 170 panels, has left some neighbors seeing red. "We all want to go green, but this is just too much," said Sheryl Perrin, who lives on Bayside Drive at the foot of the bluff below the Rizzones. "My kitchen windows look out directly onto that thing." Perrin and her husband have lived in the coastal neighborhood since 1998. The couple was dismayed when the natural landscaping of the bluffs was replaced with the man-made installation. "My husband said as a joke that he was going to put a giant mirror on our roof and beam the glare right back up at them," Perrin said. The city has received several similar complaints from neighbors about the panels' glare and appearance; however, federal guidelines do not allow a city to approve or deny construction permits based on cosmetic factors, Newport Beach Building Director Jay Elbettar said. "I just don't think it is in keeping with our community standards of what is acceptable," neighborhood resident Liz Kennedy said. "I think conservation is great, but I don't want to see the beauty of our community destroyed by no regulation on alternative energy sources." The homeowners association of the area attempted to prevent the Rizzones from installing the panels, but was advised against it by their attorney, said John Gessford, former board member of the Irvine Terrace association. "It went totally against our guidelines, but we didn't have the jurisdiction to say no," Gessford said. According to Rizzone, an agreement has since been worked out with the association. "Let's face it, looks are relative. I happen to think that it looks great," Rizzone said. "It's a mixed bag here … the vast number of people have been supportive, but some people will never be happy with change." However, to "soften the look," they plan to add flowering plants and trees around the project site and along the bluff, Rizzone said. Rizzone, who grew up in Orange County, said that he and his wife moved to Newport in 1995. "We love this area. The view is simply spectacular."

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Six Names Added to Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Metropolitan At Work

Solar Cup
Teams from 36 Southern California high schools competed May 14-16 at the eighth-annual Solar Cup competition held at Lake Skinner near Temecula. The competition was the culmination of a seven-month long program that included about 700 students building and then racing solar-powered boats. The students also learned about conservation of natural resources, electrical and mechanical engineering, problem solving and much more.    Click here for final results. Click here for more information about Solar Cup.


Global Water & Technology Forum
A gathering of about 900 convened May 20 at Diamond Valley Lake to take part in Metropolitan’s first Global Water & Technology Forum. The forum focused attention on the challenges facing society in managing technology, water resources and climate change. The day-long forum brought together a diversity of groups including the business community, investors, innovators, scientists, academicians, public agencies and the public. Click here for more information.
Click here to view a slideshow of the event.


Spring Green Expo â€" June 10, 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Attend seminars, visit exhibits of green products and listen to guest speakers at the 3rd annual event. Click here for more information and to register for the event.


The quagga mussel is tiny, but its presence is hugeâ€"and hugely destructive. Quaggas are an invasive species and major problem for Metropolitan and water providers throughout the country. Read the entire story.



At A Glance

Watering Index Widget:
Support Southern California water conservation efforts by adding the Watering Index to your Web site. The index helps residents save water and money on their water bills by having them adjust their sprinkler controllers as the temperature changes.

Weymouth Treatment Plant Turns 70
Completed in 1940, the F.E. Weymouth Water Treatment Plant, one of Metropolitan's five treatment plants, ranks as one of the largest water treatment facilities in the United States, with a design capacity of 520 million gallons per day for distribution to Los Angeles and Orange counties. The plant is currently undergoing extensive rehabilitation with upgrades to various systems, including electrical, and plans are underway for an ozone treatment system and a solar power generation facility. Weymouth has also long served as a visual icon for the Metropolitan Water District, with its Mission Revival style architecture, blue-tiled bell tower, vivid mosaic and colorful tiles.

Read the entire story.

                                                                                       Weymouth Water Treatment Plant

Click here to see the slideshow. -->


Answers to Inquiries
I’ve heard of a “carbon footprint” but what is my “water footprint?”

Your water footprint is the total amount of water you use in your home and/or business on an annual basis. You can make your water footprint smaller by becoming more conscious of your water use and learning what you can do to use water more efficiently. This will help ensure our water supply for the future. To learn more about saving water go to

Do you have a question or concern about water?  Please direct your inquiries to



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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hypersonic aircraft shatters aviation records

The Air Force tests an unmanned X-51 WaveRider off the coast near Point Mugu. Launched from a B-52 bomber, it hits 3,500 mph and travels for 200 seconds before plunging into the ocean as planned.........,0,764506.story?trac...

Posted via web from Newport Beach Blog

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Lifecycle of Your Dinner

Have you ever looked at your favorite pasta dish or a fabulous chocolate layer cake and wondered just how much time and how many resources went into getting those wonders of taste and calories from the farm to the table?

By now, many of us have heard the statistic that the average meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to table, or the now famous Michael Pollan quote, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Dig a little deeper, though, and you will find that there are many costs – some obvious, others hidden – to every morsel we consume.

With a little exploration, you will find that there are many easy ways to save money, energy and even time in your quest for a more delicious and eco-conscious meal.

Find the source

Several well-written books including “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver and “Plenty” by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, have chronicled the quest to eat food that is produced locally.

In Smith and MacKinnon’s case, they stuck to a diet of food that could be procured within 100 miles of their home in Vancouver, British Columbia. While this lifestyle change might not be feasible for those who don’t live in temperate climates that afford a year-round growing season, there are several easy ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your meal.

Markets are abundant all over the country, especially between May and September. In addition to supporting your local economy and reducing the mileage of your food, prices also tend to be comparable to grocery stores and the quality and variety is often much better. What’s more, eating seasonally is a great way to vary your diet, explore organic options, support sustainable agricultural practices, and get to know the people who grow your food.

Buy in bulk and reuse bags

Farmers markets are always great places to bring your own bags and buy just the amount you need, but more and more grocery stores are also expanding their bulk sections. Everything from olive oil to granola can now be purchased in bulk, which greatly reduces the need for conventional packaging.

Even in the grocery store, reconsider whether or not you need each item of produce to go in an individual plastic bag. And, of course, be sure to bring your own reusable bags and purchase items with the least amount of packaging.

Eat less meat

So what is for dinner? As The New York Times pointed out as early as 2008, the meat industry’s growing environmental impact is as surprising as it is alarming. Meat not only has a greater carbon footprint than vegetables, but it is also more expensive.

As the world’s demand for food rises, it becomes increasingly important to utilize efficiently the world’s arable land through sustainable farming practices that produce the maximum amount of healthy food on healthy land.

What’s more, a vegetarian diet or a diet with less meat in it is better for your health. According to a 2009 updated position paper published by the American Dietetic Association, there are many proven health benefits to a diet consisting mainly of plants.

“Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes,” according to ADA’s position.

“Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet.”

Buying locally grown food means you’re getting the most fresh product, rather than something that was picked almost a week prior. It also cuts down on energy use and supports local farmers. Photo: Flickr/Cooking for Geeks

The choices for the omnivore

If you are a staunch meat-lover, consider where your meat came from, how it was treated, what it was fed, how far it traveled and how it was packaged. All of these factors contribute to the environmental footprint of that flank of steak or breast of chicken.

All of the factors surrounding food production should also be taken into account when considering the impact your potential dinner had on the planet.

Again, farmers markets are great places to start, since farmers at most of them sell meat, cheese and eggs. Not only are these products local, but most of these farmers are happy to account for all of their practice, and much of what they sell is available year-round.

While these products may cost a bit more than their conventionally produced counterparts, remember that you are paying the true cost of a food group with a greater environmental impact.

Don’t eat too much water

Water is a precious resource, and there is embedded or “virtual” water in everything we consume. According to a Discover Magazine article by Thomas Kostigen, “Virtual water is a calculation of the water needed for the production of any product from start to finish.”

Kostigen goes on to quote the virtual water for everything from a banana (27 gallons) to a cup of coffee (37 gallons) based on calculations from, which has a virtual water footprint calculator that allows you to see how much water is in the food you are consuming.

The Three R’s of food waste

Even with food, the rules of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle apply. According to the EPA, it is possible to greatly reduce the amount of both food waste and wasted food by following their simple hierarchy.

The first, and most important step is to avoid overproduction and purchasing in the first place (reduce). After that, you should look to provide excess food to needy people first, then animals, then to industrial sources (reuse). Finally, you should look to compost scraps that cannot be reused in any way. That compost can then be put to use as fertilizer for new crops (recycle).

Take your food full circle

Composting is the perfect way to complete the lifecycle of your dinner because it leaves minimal impact on the environment and creates great food for next season’s meals. Food thrown in the trash releases methane, a global warming gas, as it decomposes in the anaerobic environment of the landfill. A home composting system is quick and easy to construct, and more and more municipalities are adding compost collection to their services.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

6 O.C. climbers summit Everest, other OK

An incredible six people from Orange County summited Mount Everest during the weekend with only one local climber – the oldest American to have climbed the world’s highest mountain – being forced to turn around during a repeat attempt.

Undaunted – and rightly so – Bill Burke, 68, of Costa Mesa, proclaimed his trip a success after high winds, sub-zero temperatures and darkness prevented what he hoped would be a double summit, one from the mountain’s north side and one from the south side.

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Cindy Abbott, 51, freshens her ice climbing skills near Everest Base Camp.

In a satellite phone dispatch late Sunday night, Burke reported he was only a few hundred vertical feet from the top when he “ran out of gas.”

While disappointed, Burke made one of high altitude climbing’s toughest decisions: To turn around when he could almost taste success.

Consider what Everest pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary once said of summiting Mount Everest: It's not about who summits. It's about who gets down.

The six climbers who did summit took the traditional southern route. Burke was on the north face, considered a tougher climb.

They included Cindy Abbott, nearly blind in one eye from a degenerative disease; John and Ryan Dahlem, .....

Posted via web from Newport Beach Blog

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles